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Very one-sided view point spoils an interesting story
on 29 August 2007
The rise of the HA from its West Coast USA origins to almost global motorcycle club supremacy should have been a fascinating read. Mr Marsden makes a stab at covering the HA presence across the world, but his main sources are in the US and the European biker scene gets a relatively brief overview.
Don't read this book and expect to learn anything new about the HA. In truth the text is more useful as a description of an inept and ultimately futile law enforcement attempt to portray the HA as a 2-wheeled Cosa Nostra. Clearly there have been some violent men within the club, and it's not hard to accept that, for those who reject society's norms, crime provides a more lucrative income than a straight 9-5 job.
However the author uncritically accepts the law enforcement versions of events, and in doing so he paints the entire outlaw biker community as thugs, pushers, and murderers. I just can't accept that good PR and a few toy runs would cancel out the kind of vile reputation that any wholly criminal gang would have.
Authorial bias oozes from every paragraph, undermining the facts and affecting this reader's initial open mind. An example - the reckless murder of a Gypsy Joker by a retired senior Austalian policeman, and the subsequent massive official cover-up is downplayed in a way that would never have happened if the victim and perpetrator had been reversed.
The title suggests some insight into the closed world of the HA, but this is just a list of crimes and alledged events garnished with brief and facile comments from ATF and FBI infiltrators. The accuracy of the Law Enforcers' opinions can be gauged from the final chapter, when it becomes apparent that two lengthy and expensive undercover operations culminated in the prosecution of a handful of Angels for a series of relatively minor crimes. The inescapable conclusion is that the HA Global Crime Empire is not quite the terrible threat to our way of life that Mr Marsden would have us believe.